August 21, 2020
Happy Friday, Friends!
This has really been a great week in so many ways. Schools are reporting getting kids back to campus and back online. Staff is feeling more confident seeing the plans and the kids in motion. And yet, never have we all been as bone and brain tired as we are right now.
This article gave good words to what I have been feeling and what I have heard expressed by many of you, including those with seemingly endless amounts of energy. It reminded me that we need to continue to pay attention to these signals in ourselves, our families, friends, and colleagues. As leaders, we need to make sure we replenish our reserves, but we also need to make sure our teams do the same (for those who need a shot in the arm on that front, see Clay Christensen’s article on How to Measure Your Life). We at SAIS are working on ways to help you and your staff do that. However, if you have some ideas, please feel free to send them my way at email@example.com.
Along those lines, I have a low level, yet consistent uneasiness around the stability of our workforce in the months and years ahead. While the plural of anecdote is not data, unexpected turnover in staff is a frequent conversations these days. This hiring piece from RG175 might be helpful, but we should also be thinking about ways to stabilize our teams and maybe tap into new recruiting markets.
While I recognize that it would be nice to just enjoy the moment of being out of pre-launch mode, and maybe take an hour or two to enjoy that, we need to get focused on the evolution of our institutions and sector and how we enter the next normal stronger than before. Some of you might want to throw rocks at me right now for moving on to the next thing, so I am going to calmly put a few pieces in your path for consideration when you are ready. Start with this one from HBR on moving into and leading during this “recovery phase.” It’s sort of reflective of my first paragraph, but not as goopy. The next is this one around understanding and shaping consumer behavior. This one goes deep into skills for students in the future, and putting student support and wellness and the center of focus. It also provides some insight into creating and maintaining the community of teachers for the long-term. And, finally, I love this multi-part exchange between a head of an international school and a practitioner at Stanford’s d.school around designing using futures thinking. Really, it’s worth reading even if the term “futures thinking” makes the grammarian in your head cringe.
Okay, quick hits…
Finally, we have been working to populate and support our diversity, equity, and inclusion listserve and roundtables, and create more resources. This one might be of particular interest to schools that are working hard to respond to the racial justice movement. We had a round table meeting this week and some wonderful resources were shared, including this one around talking about race in the classroom, and particularly around affinity group work . The links are included below. If you have a staff member who is leading your diversity and equity work, would you encourage them to create a profile on our website so that they can join the conversation? We are working to create more resources and opportunities to support schools in this work.
In closing … I do love a feel-good story, so check out this spotlight on a project involving three of our schools. For those of you longing for news of the weird… the llamas might still save us from COVID, but if they don’t the horses might.
Have a great weekend and get some rest!!
Schools have rigorous student abuse prevention protocols, but sometimes concerns do come up. This recorded session addressed navigating tricky situations including steps to take, whether to report, and who does the reporting.
natives to help you appropriately support young people as they encounter and master these digital skills. The message: limiting or monitoring technology is no substitute for mentoring and engagement. Led by Devorah Heitner (Raising Digital Natives).